Science & Technology


20060731-calm.jpgSlower breathing may lower blood pressure (Yahoo! News)

So maybe this is why we have so many heart attacks in America: we need a scientific study to realize that calming down lowers our blood pressure.

Slow, deep breathing does relax and dilate blood vessels temporarily, but that’s not enough to explain a lasting drop in blood pressure, says NIH’s Anderson.

Here’s a thought, maybe everything isn’t a medical problem, needing a medical solution. Maybe what people with high blood pressure need isn’t a new medicine. Maybe all it takes to calm your heart is to calm your mind.

The concept that high blood pressure is a disease, that being wound too tight is a disease, strikes a sour note with me. It’s just too close to treating obesity as a disease, and the subsequent alleviation of personal responsibility.

When physicians tell people “you have high blood pressure, but we have a pill for that,” they remove the patient’s own attitude as a potential cause of the problem.  What if they tried saying “hey, you’re wound too tight, try calming down a little bit?” I’ll tell you what would happen then, people would get cured and drug companies wouldn’t sell quite so many pills.

So that’s another thing that should happen but never will.

At least until people stop looking for a pill to cure anything.

Is a pothead smoking a joint to take the edge off life really any different from a stressed out businessman popping blood pressure pills on his commute through rush hour?

Both are people without enough control over their own minds to slow them down without drugs.  The only real difference is that the pothead at least realizes that the drugs are there to calm his mind, but the businessman doesn’t even see that his mind and body are connected.

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060626-comm-tower.jpgSo, between the recent appearance of telemarketers on Skype (and subsequent network load), and the brand new FCC tax on VoIP services that connect to traditional phone lines, I have to wonder if greed is going to ruin the promise of broadband phone service.

There was a day when I hoped VoIP would usher in a golden age of communication.  The gradual phasing out of analog phone systems would leave more cable bandwidth for the Internet, as digital data is a more efficient use of the line than analog voice.  Eventually a fully digital system would leave us with lower phone bills, more reliable phone service, and an all around slightly faster Internet.

The FCC, though, has decided to take a big old shit all over that dream, by trying to tax VoIP to fund the construction of archaic analog phone systems in rural areas.

Really, it could be argued that the FCC is doing nothing more than protecting the assets of the established telecoms.  If I owned a phone company I’d be terrified of VoIP, and be lobbying the FCC to the max.

So in the future, thanks to the FCC, we’ll have a slower internet, more unreliable phone system, and phone bills just as big as they are now.  That, and poor people in rural areas will get the shaft once again with their outdated phone systems, all so that a few rich guys can get a little richer.